Drones were originally developed to carry out military activities, but have evolved to become a big hit in the private sector. In 2016, the Consumer Electronics Association estimated that 700,000 new drones would be sold to commercial and recreational users in the U.S. It’s projected that North America will lead in the deployment of commercial drones with 1.4 million by 2025. Is all this recreational flying a harmless fad? Or are drones a nuisance?
The Dark Side of Drones
Drones can capture video and images without authorization, which can be a problem. Whether it’s paparazzi flying over a celebrity’s private estate or a nosy neighbour looking into your backyard, drones can invade privacy. In the business sector, a drone could be used to steal IP, damage infrastructure or gather sensitive data.
Others have voiced concerns over public safety and the threat of terrorism. Much like in a military exercise, drones are a remote means of carrying out an attack. They can pose a threat to public buildings, events and people. It’s one of the reasons drones are restricted from flying over crowds at places like theme parks, concerts and sporting events.
One law-breaking use for a drone you may not have considered benefits those housed in correctional institutions. That’s right, prisoners are using drones for contraband delivery. At least they’re giving it a go. In early 2017, a drone flew into the Regina Correctional Centre to make a drop-off.
Drones & Close Calls
Transport Canada says that 1,596 incidents involving drones were reported in 2017 and 131 of them were deemed aviation safety concerns. Although drones are restricted from flying near airports, pilots have reported incidents and near misses. In October 2017, a drone collided with a plane about three kilometers from Quebec City’s Jean Lesage International Airport.
Not all incidents involve planes. Here are a few more close calls:
- a drone was spotted flying near the White House in 2015
- in February 2016 a drone crashed into the 40th floor of the Empire State Building
- a drone crashed at a nuclear power station in Cape Town, South Africa in 2016
Companies have been working on technology to deactivate or stop drones that enter public and private no-fly zones. This technology works by interfering with drone systems that use GPS to navigate and radio signals to transmit video. The protective technology can be a built-in by the manufacturer with a geo-mapping system that’s programmed with restricted zones. There are also external methods employed to safeguard areas looking to ban drones.
Rules & Regulations
As drone use has become more popular, the government has had to react by first creating and then updating rules. The guidelines are based on drone size and whether they’re being used for commercial or recreational purposes.
Here are a few things to keep in mind if you’re flying a drone for recreational use in Canada. A full list of rules and regulations can be found here.
- stay at least 30m away from vehicles, vessels and the public
- keep drones at least 5.6 km away from airports
- fly at least 9km away from a natural hazard or disaster area
- don’t fly where you could interfere with police or first responders
- keep your drone within sight at all times
- fly during the day and not in bad weather
- keep your drone within 500 m of yourself
- mark your drone with name, address and telephone number
At Key West Video, we use our drone strictly to shoot beautiful footage. If you have a facility or piece of property that could benefit from aerial exposure, give us a call and let’s talk about your next video.